I recently had the privilege of listening Jay Goltz give a talk. Jay is a successful Chicago entrepreneur, professional keynote speaker, and blogger for the New York Times business blog. Jay’s founded many successful businesses in the Chicago area including Artist Frame Service, Jayson Home & Garden, Chicago Art Source, and Bella Moulding. I’ve actually read about Jay from the book Small Giants before I got a chance to meet him in person. It’s not the norm that I take a lot of notes at these talks, but with Jay I left with 2-3 pages worth of notes.
Jay’s big secret to business is not much of a secret at all: Take care of customers. For him, in order to be successful in business, you have to succeed in 3 areas: Marketing, Management, and Finance.
- Hire the right person
- Turn off the entrepreneur when interviewing people. Don’t lead the interviewee
- Don’t hurry hiring
- Lower expectations, raise standards. People don’t know what to expect, so set the standard.
- Hold people responsible
- Get rid of your own naivete
- Keep inventory under control
- Debt is sometimes OK. Don’t pay cash for depreciating assets you can finance to solve cashflow problems.
- You can’t give all 3: quality, price, and service. You have to pick 2.
Here are some of his general tips.
- Always keep asking yourself: What am I doing wrong?
- Entrepreneurship – there’s no balance. Only controlled sacrifice.
- Success doesn’t equal happiness
- Figure out the right people. It’s not all you.
- Don’t price things based on customers, but the cost of goods/services.
- Stupid is stupid regardless of age. I thought this point was funny.
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